Colorado Avalanche 2016 Draft Profile: Michael McLeod

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Mikko Rantanen poses with team executives after being selected as the number ten overall pick to the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Mikko Rantanen poses with team executives after being selected as the number ten overall pick to the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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The NHL Draft is looming near for the Colorado Avalanche, and with it the beginning of the offseason and a slacking of the distant nature of hockey in the summer. Today Michael McLeod stops by for his draft profile.

Finally, summer seems to be slackening its vice grip on hockey, and specifically the Colorado Avalanche.

With the NHL draft set to take place at the end of the week on June 24th and 25th in Buffalo, New York — at the First Niagara Center — it’s time for the Colorado Avalanche to hone in on their first round selection.

Michael McLeod could possibly be that selection, and the power center and gifted two-way forward would immediately bolster the prospect depth the Avalanche have at the forward position.

Before we begin, here’s a list of the other profiles we’ve done at MHS:

Logan Brown

RW Julien Gauthier

LHD Mikhail Sergachev

RHD Charlie McAvoy

LW/RW Patirk Laine

C/LW Kieffer Bellows

LW Max Jones

RW Jesse Puljujärvi

LW/RW Alexander Nylander

C German Rubtsov

C Clayton Keller

LW Carl Grundström

As you may have noticed, there aren’t many defensemen on the list and although no one at MHS knew this at the time of picking the profiles to consider — according to the Denver Post, Joe Sakic has recently announced that he will be focusing on forwards in the draft.

"We think we’re going to get a good player at 10, and we’re going to go with the best player on our list, [and] this year it’s forward-heavy."

That quote also implies that the Avalanche will be staying at No. 10 when they select their player this year, although any trade could happen to change that.

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And now, I’ll add another forward to the list, and — more specifically — another center that the Avs can consider with the No. 10 overall pick.

Michael McLeod Statistics

Position: Center

Shoots: Right

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 187 pounds

Age: 18

Minor Team: Mississauga Steelheads

NHL Player Most Like: Mikkel Boedker (With way more defensive upside) yet, people are saying Ryan Kesler as well, which is probably more accurate. There are even Ryan O’Reilly comparisons (with better skating from McLeod), now wouldn’t that be awesome!

Probability of NHL Success: Very probable (like most first round selections) within 1-3 years.

Michael McLeod was 39th overall in OHL scoring this year with those numbers above, and was second on his team with 14 fewer points than Alexander Nylander, my favorite prospect for the Avalanche at No. 10.

However, McLeod is the reason his line with Nylander and Nathan Bastian was so productive, because he did all of the hard work.

Michael McLeod Scouting Report

Here’s what the scouts are saying about him.

Curtis Joe from Elite Prospects:

"Michael McLeod is a highly skilled power center that relies on nobody but himself to get the job done. His size and skating make him difficult to contain, and his competitiveness gives him an edge against other teams’ best. His deft puckhandling skills and control over his speed are the defining aspects of his offensive abilities. All-in-all, a top talent that is both dynamic and hard to play against."

And here’s what Future Considerations had to say:

"McLeod has an excellent skating stride which includes several different gears and the ability to instantly change speed to shoot through holes in the defense. He is defensively responsible and plays the game from goal light to goal light. Has a very high compete level, plays physical and will do whatever is required to help his team. Creates plenty of chances off the rush using his speed and willingness to take the puck to the net. Strong in the faceoff circle and has some leadership qualities NHL teams will like."

How about those leadership qualities eh? That’s something that Patrick Roy will surely enjoy.

What they don’t mention is that he needs to work on his shot quite a bit. Alexander Nylander scored 7 more goals than Michael McLeod, while only taking 7 more shots on net.

Furthermore, Nylander was a rookie in the OHL, while McLeod was playing in his second season for the Steelheads, which is obviously why Nylander is ranked higher than McLeod.

Still McLeod plays a much more complete defensive game, and a better two-way game overall. He will make for a great second line center in the near future.

Mcleod just needs one more year to develop, and at the most three, but with time spent in the AHL during those final two years of development, and certainly a few games here and there at the NHL level.

And as for some other analyses of Michael McLeod beyond the MHS spectrum, I like this one a lot from Tom Hunter at The Leafs Nation.

Even though it is somewhat centralized to the Maple Leafs, it still provides a great analysis of his game, and particularly his defensive game.

Movie time:

He’s obviously the fastest player on the ice, and he plays in all situations.

McLeod’s highlight reel is very telling about his two-way game and speed, as well as his tenacity and willingness to play both ends.

He definitely has silky smooth hands, but it’s easy to tell that he needs to work on his shot quite a bit before he becomes a dominant offensive player in the NHL.

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Still, his defensive responsibility and ability to play in all situations makes him valuable to an NHL club almost immediately.

There were three short-handed goals in that highlight reel, and that speaks for itself.

But, the most enticing facet of McLeod’s game is his speed, which would fit well with the Colorado Avalanche — who are looking for two-way responsible and skilled players that are speedy.

Michael McLeod Potential Fit with the Colorado Avalanche

As I’ve said already, McLeod would immediately bolster the depth the Colorado Avalanche have at the forward position in their prospects.

Furthermore, with the departure of Conner Bleackley, McLeod also immediately adds some necessary two-way depth at center.

Finally, the Colorado Avalanche have been missing a tremendous two-way forward since the departure of Ryan O’Reilly, and McLeod has the potential to grow into a player that is equally skilled, if not better than O’Reilly.

Nonetheless, Joe Sakic said that he would be drafting the best player available on their list, and I am guessing that McLeod will be a little further back on that list at No. 10.

Michael McLeod is ranked as high as No. 7 by McKeen’s Hockey (who’s opinion I am starting to question) and as low as No. 19 by Hockeyprospect.com.

In between those rankings are a couple No. 13 rankings, and one No. 15 ranking. In other words, he is ranked just outside the realm of a top-ten pick.

Nonetheless, McLeod’s intangibles are enticing, and if it weren’t for Tyson Jost — another speedy two-way center — I think the Avs might seriously consider taking him at No. 10 if he were available.

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However, Jost figures to still be available with the tenth pick, and if it comes down to those two players, then I pin the Avalanche with Jost.

Furthermore, there might be some other players available with the tenth pick that are way higher on the list for the Colorado Avalanche than Jost and McLeod.

Either way folks, this is an engaging time of year, and this week finally promises some excitement on the Colorado Avalanche front, so here we go!